Football vs Nicholls State-10.jpg

Junior running back Khalil Herbert runs up field in the game against Nicholls State on Saturday Sept. 1. Kansas fell to Nicholls State 26-23.

Following a disappointing 26-23 loss to Nicholls State in overtime on Saturday, at media availability on Tuesday, Kansas football coach David Beaty examined the highs and the lows of the Jayhawks’ performance as the team looks to break a 46-game road-losing streak this weekend.

Walk-on Gabriel Rui’s 54-yard field goal lands him at top of FBS

Despite walking on to the program in 2016 with no guarantee of playing time, senior kicker Gabriel Rui currently ranks at the top of the FBS after nailing a 54-yard career-long field goal with 13 minutes remaining in the first half.

“He (Rui) came in as a walk-on as you guys know, and he said it last night, he wasn’t the guy. Liam (Jones) was the guy,” Beaty said.  “You know, we really had already said that he (Jones) would be our kicker coming in. He came here on scholarship. Rui had really not performed great up into that point, and then he really got focused and he flat just beat him out, beat him out in the fall, and had a terrific season last year, became one of the more respected players of that team.”

Alongside landing him first in the FBS, Rui’s 54-yarder positions him tied for seventh-longest in program history. 

“Rui, I thought, played a really, really good game,” Beaty said. “Very tough guy, I like him a lot. I think he was able to record the longest field goal you know this year, I think 54 yards, and one of the longest in history. He continues to be a really valuable asset for us.” 

Beaty cites a lack of first downs as an explanation for limited carries for running backs

A deep position that only last week Beaty had expressed great confidence in, running backs Khalil Herbert and Dom Williams received only 18 carries combined on the night, despite averaging over five yards per carry.

Beaty cited an absence of first downs as the primary reason he was unable to get the efficient pair more involved.

“I mean the more plays you get to call, the more you get to allow those guys to touch the ball,” Beaty said. “That’s something that we’ve got to correct. We’ve got to get more first downs. It gives us a new fresh set of downs. We get more opportunities that way. Simply put, to be able to get the ball in everybody’s hands, you’ve gotta have more downs.”

Fontana to remain starting center 

Responsible for roughly five poor snaps, senior center Alex Fontana believed himself to be largely accountable for Saturday evening’s loss. However, Beaty explained that as of now, he still plans to start the center from Houston at Central Michigan.   

“You know what, I don’t see any reason why that would change unless he gets beat out throughout the week,” Beaty said. “But you know, we still have a lot of confidence in him. We think we’ve identified the issue that he had, and we think it’s very fixable. Unfortunately it showed up, but we have to deal with it, and we’ve identified what we know to be the problem, and I know he’ll make the necessary adjustments.” 

Beaty elaborated that while a wet hand could have posed part of the issue, the coaching staff additionally found mechanical adjustments for Fontana to fix prior to re-taking the field come Saturday.

Kansas is set to kick-off against Central Michigan on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Kelly/Shorts Stadium.